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How Sushma Swaraj Became Pakistani Overnight

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If there would be a Pakistani ‘How To Apply For Citizenship’ course, it would be three words long—help a Muslim.

Or it could be two words—criticise India.

Recently an inter-religious couple in Lucknow had ‘the time of their lives’ at the city’s passport office. As our sanskari Indian uncles never fail to exude that moral policing attitude and display their religious bravado like onion cake on a fish custard, this happened:

According to reports, the Passport officer [Vikas Mishra] had asked the woman to change her name and her husband to convert to Hinduism. Mishra has contested the allegations of misbehaviour,” reports Hindustan Times.

The couple asked Sushma Swaraj to step in and help them which she did and their passports were issued in 24 hours and Vikas Mishra, the self-righteous uncle ji, the protector of Hindu faith, was also summoned.

Now, I know how much we blame politicians for every news story in the newspaper but sometimes our politicians do the right things too.

Specially Sushma Swaraj who has a kind of reputation for being a knight in shining armor of the desperate and the helpless.

We were just about to raise our hands to applaud but instead of applauding, our hands magically moved to our mouths in shock at what happened.

Yes, she is now “Vsa Mata” and Pakistani overnight.

Wow! One would assume that means something, I mean, serving at the highest of the high elite institutions of India, her position would command enormous respect and power, right?


It commanded this:

And also this:

And if you think “These are just two random nobodies, who cares?“, well, then think again.

As the Hindustan Times found, “41 BJP lawmakers follow Twitter users who trolled Sushma Swaraj.

And apparently, they not only suggested beheading her (Talibani inspiration) but also a lot more.

@Bharat1 (kindly pay attention to the username) had to say this-

I mean seriously, what online abuse is complete without rape threats, slut-shaming and other forms of gender-specific abuse? That’s like Trolling 101 guys.

And if you think women are left behind in this exercise… nope! Here is what user @BalaJna had to say to pay a tribute to Sushma Swaraj:

I mean, ‘cheating Hindus’ doesn’t happen by publicly calling an elderly woman a “whore”, or calling for her beheading and lynching. But remember friends, the moment you commit an act that somehow by some direct or indirect line of action has anything to do with Muslims, or even simply helping an inter-faith couple, that’s when you become a cheat to Hinduism. For further classes on the topic, kindly contact the above Twitter user, who also thinks commanding the PM of India to sack highest ranked Government officials is as easy as saying “Bittu, chalo homework karo jaakar.”

And this one really confused me terribly:

Whoa. I thought BJP stood for the whole nation. Is this the national/anti-national debate thingy? No, this is evidence that the BJP is only “Hindu Rakshak” and not “Indians rakshak” because Indians include a lot of people other than Hindus. Which is also confirmed by this apparent ‘hurting of Hindu sentiments’ by a couple’s silly passport being issued:

Weirdly enough, guess who was standing by her side? The freaking opposition!

Well, for now, we have established few things for sure:

  1. Being harassed or morally policed by a ‘Sanskari Uncle’ at every Indian Government office is totally acceptable.
  2. Helping out people in inter-faith marriages make you a Pakistani.
  3. The BJP is not for the progress of India but for the protection of Hindus only (as suggested by the BJP supporters above).

And guess what? They now are threatening to cancel the couple’s passports and fine them on charges of some mistake in their form claiming they gave some false information.

My concern here is not whether they wrote some addresses here and there, or if they gave every single piece of information with the accuracy of slicing a brain tumor.

My concern is the treatment they received when government officials got to know the couple is interfaith.

My concern is that they had to ask for help on social media.

And the worst concern of all is the abuse and total shamelessness of the politicians who are connected to these so-called hyper-nationals, these toxic ‘patriotic’ people who can call for a public beheading and lynching of an elderly woman in one of the highest ranks of government.

This has gone way beyond ‘time-to-wake-up’.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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